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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Out of sight, out of mind: Carcinogenic chemical spreads beneath Michigan town

Today's post was shared by FairWarning and comes from

When state and federal environmental officials visited the tucked-away town of Mancelona, Mich., 15 years ago, their presence surprised local residents.

“My heart and most of my life has been spent here in Antrim County,” said Gary Knapp, a long-time resident. “And I knew nothing of its environmental problems.”While removing metal contamination from local groundwater, officials had stumbled upon one of the nation’s largest plumes of an industrial solvent called trichloroethylene, or TCE.

Drinking-water wells tap into this aquifer, so the state asked the town’s help in preventing the chemical from flowing out of people’s taps.“People were helpless, frustrated and angry,” said Knapp, who was recruited by the state to start a regional water authority.Fifteen years later, the underground plume of the carcinogenic chemical is now six miles long and continues to grow.Over the past decade, new wells have been built and millions of dollars have been spent to ensure the 1,390 residents of Mancelona – known for its deer-hunting contests and bass festivals – aren’t drinking toxic water.

But the TCE swirling beneath this remote, low-income town continues to vex state officials and residents as it creeps toward new wells that Knapp and others dug to replace tainted ones. The plume is another industrial scar in Michigan – one that is seemingly not going away.“There’s no silver bullet to take care...
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.